Banks and Fintechs: Better together

Old met new in the world of retail banking on July 28, as BPCE, France’s second largest banking group, announced the acquisition of the German digital bank and fintech pioneer Fidor Bank.

Founded in 2009, Fidor Bank has built a community of 350,000 users across Germany and the UK, who are rewarded for offering peer-to-peer financial advice and invited to participate in the social co-creation of products and services. The startup has also developed a proprietary technology platform – the Fidor Operating System (fOS) – which enables open and fast API banking, offering its 120,000 customers access to a wide selection of services provided by other fintech partners.

The news about BPCE inking a deal with Fidor came as no surprise. As I discuss in a recent report, the digital banks which have proliferated over the past few years – competing to win customers by offering more compelling digital customer experiences than those offered by established banks – are struggling to acquire large numbers of customers and reach profitable scale. Why? They operate on narrow margins, can’t sustain large marketing campaigns, and create limited perceived added-value for customers.

Fidor has done well since its launch, hitting profitability for the first time in 2012. The startup however made the decision to shift its business model away from just direct-to-consumer offerings, and now white-label its technology to financial institutions. The telecom operator Telefónica in Germany recently partnered with the fintech to launch a mobile banking service for its customers.

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We Have A New Mobile Banking Leader: Westpac Tops Forrester’s Global Benchmark In 2016

Mobile banking adoption has reached critical mass. Rapid progress in mobile technologies and consumers' ever-increasing expectations and changing behavior have left many banks around the world playing catch-up. In the meantime, a cluster of banks is racing forward by putting customers at the center of their strategy, striving to anticipate customers' emerging needs, and by embracing an agile and iterative approach to speed up the development of new mobile capabilities that differentiate them from their peers. Today, these banks are delivering outstanding services to their customers in mobile, and in 2016, Westpac in Australia is leading the pack.

To help digital business strategy leaders better understand the landscape of mobile banking, identify best practices, and benchmark their own capabilities in this area, Forrester conducts an annual functionality benchmark applying 40 criteria. This year, we evaluated 46 leading retail banks from more than a dozen countries across four continents, and have just published the findings in our "2016 Global Mobile Banking Functionality Benchmark" report.

Here are some of the highlights from the global benchmark report:

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Spain, Turkey, And Poland Continue To Lead The Way In The European Mobile Banking Market

For the second year in a row, Spain’s CaixaBank tops our review of European banks’ mobile banking services. Not only CaixaBank delivers the basics superbly when it comes to transactional features, it also excels in offering a wide array of touchpoints including a smartwatch app and a fully-optimized mobile website with product research tools, as well as best-in-class alert services, and outstanding marketing and sales functionality.

Forrester has just published its 2016 European Mobile Banking Functionality Benchmark, revealing important insights about the current state of European mobile banking. We evaluated the mobile banking services of 11 of the largest retail banks in Europe, and found out that CaixaBank in Spain, Garanti in Turkey, and Bank Zachodni WBK in Poland continue to lead in mobile banking. The three banks achieve mobile banking success by offering both strong basic functionality and a wide range of next-generation features. For example, CaixaBank lets customers make mobile contactless payments in store by providing a digital wallet integrated into the main mobile banking app. Garanti offers an interactive, voice-activated virtual assistant that customers can use to search the app for functionality and various task like finding a past transaction. Bank Zachodni WBK helps customers reach human help easily by offering video banking through their mobile banking app.

What defines a mobile banking leader?

Mobile banking leaders prioritize mobile initiatives and keep on testing and learning to introduce substantial improvements month after month. By doing so, they deliver more engaging customer experiences and create new value for their customers.

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Banks In Spain, Poland, And Turkey Are Paving The Way For Next-Generation Mobile Banking

As Europeans become more familiar with mobile banking, they use it for a growing range of banking tasks such as money transfers and bill payments. Consumers’ behavior will continue to shift as mobile experiences with retailers, airlines, and the Airbnb’s and Uber’s of this world raise expectations about what mobile apps and sites can offer and how convenient they can be to use. Customers across Europe now want access to their accounts 24/7, the ability to perform a range of transactions with only a few clicks, and the possibility to manage their finances directly on their smartphones. 
 
Yesterday we published our "2015 European Mobile Banking Functionality Benchmark" report, after evaluating the mobile banking services of thirteen leading European banks. Faced with a fast-moving competitive and technology environment, digital teams at European banks have striven to keep up with customers’ rising expectations. A cluster of banks in Spain, Poland, and Turkey – CaixaBank, Bank Zachodni WBK, mBank, Işbank, Akbank, and Garanti – now stand out as world-class, raising the bar to deliver great customer experiences, create new value, and engage customers in their mobile moments. 
 
Here are some highlights from this research:
 
  • The European banks we reviewed offer extensive mobile transactional functionality. Turkish and Polish banks in particular make it easy for customers to pay a bill directly on mobile.
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